INTERVIEW: Gambler’s Daughter

Pic by Brent Larson

Hi Jessa, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Pretty good ✨

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Indigo Blue”?

Thematically the song is about what is the constant and foundational/true place to abide when everything else you thought was a constant in your life changes/leaves/shifts. It is a calling back to the beginning, that we are divinely created in love and that is unchanging, but also back to ourselves, to listening, knowing, and awareness of who we are at our core. We tend to lay claim to things and hold tightly to them for our identity and worth. When those things are taken away we find that we can’t lay claim to anything in this world, but ourselves and our God. In short it’s a song of faith and self awareness in the face of loss and great change, and that what is “mine” and will always be so.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Indigo Blue was written from a place of pain, literal pain actually, because I was having a migraine when the lyrics came to me. When I get sick like that I loose my vision, so there I was, laying in bed doubled over, I couldn’t do anything but sit there in darkness. I have noticed that when one of your senses is debilitated, your other senses are intensified. I think that sensory hyper-awareness is reflected in the writing because I had all of this time to sit and play with words and descriptives of what I could hear and feel. On and interpersonal level I was also going through huge changes so that is also reflected in the essence of the song.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

I worked with a wonderful company called Foreword Co. in St. Paul to create the film. I wanted to create an environment of a dreamlike state and the feel of beckoning. We filmed the first day in the woods working with choreographer Lillian Stillwell and dancers Emilia Bruno and Josie Hill to create movement that echoed those themes. It was important to me to incorporate elements of nature in the film since I use a lot of nature imagery in my writing, but also as metaphors throughout my album. The footage from the woods was then used as projections over me while I sang Indigo Blue in a studio setting.

The single comes off your new album Serotinous Skin – what’s the story behind the title?

Serotiny is an ecological adaptation exhibited by some seed plants in which seed release occurs in response to an environmental trigger.  While hiking in the Cascade mountains I became fixated on learning about trees like the Jack Pine and Sequoia. When these cones are exposed to heat and fire they open their petals and release their seeds. So after a forest fire they are some of the first trees to grow. Taking that concept, it is often times through life’s vicissitudes that we are opened up to new growth and life, thus we have Serotinous Skin.

How was the recording and writing process?

I am always writing music so when I started the recording process I came to my producer, Matt Patrick, with a large group of songs I had written over the last 7 years. We narrowed it down to 10 songs for Serotinous Skin. We then gathered a kick-ass group of musicians, Toni Lindgren (guitar), Alexander Young (percussion), Aaron Fabbrini (bass), and Matt Patrick (not only my producer but he played various instruments too vast to list here) to work on the project. We would all sit and listen to the scratch tracks, I would give them my vision for the songs and inspiration, then they would just go do their thing. It was quite magical to see how quickly the songs took shape. I have so much gratitude for the contributions of each of these musicians. Matt gets a ridiculous amount of props for his production, mixing, and post-production work. He is an absolute wizard. I had a team that was cohesive, intuitive and truly listened to my vision for the music . . . that made the process a seamless delight for me.

What is it about the 80s that you find so fascinating?

I don’t find the 80’s fascinating except that I was alive in them. 🤷🏻‍♀️

How has the likes of Annie Lennox influenced your music?

If I were to list my most influential artists, Annie wouldn’t be on there (even though I have great respect for her). However, I listened to a vast array of music in my formative years and she definitely had a presence there, I mean, doesn’t everyone who was alive in the 1990’s know “No More I Love Yous” and “Walking on Broken Glass”?

What aspect of grief and love did you get to explore on this record?

I touched on multiple aspects of both love and grief. “Spill” is a flirtatious song, convincing your lover to invest, encouraging and trying to inspire them that they have all that is needed for successful love. Remember is a song of longing and love lost, Red Flags touches on how we can be blind to red flags (or toxic patterns ) in relationships and we dismiss them in the name of love (which is not really loving at all). Calamity is a song that looks at grief, personifying elements of nature to navigate grief in the wake of disaster. “Therapy” uses the exquisite words of the poet Nayyirah Waheed that touch on the journey of grief and that healing and love come when you travel through it (my interpretation of her work), 13 Feet Tall touches on loneliness . . . see, I was all over the place. Grief and Love are so multifaceted and because these songs were developed over time and experiences, those multiple facets came through.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

So much of my writing is inspired by nature and how it speaks to the human experience.

Any plans to hit the road?

I hope to make my way to NYC by way of Wisconsin, Chicago, and Ohio this summer. I might travel down the coast a bit too. I also hope to be in Seattle late summer/ fall. It’s all still in the works so STAY TUNED and subscribe to my website and follow me on social media for more details!

What else is happening next in Gambler’s Daughter’s world?

I’m going to celebrate this accomplishment for a while, it’s been a long time coming. I looking forward to seeing how this body of work gives way to what is next in my world.


About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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